2 October 2015 | TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews
Age and beauty
You wake up, missing a year, everything's changed around you, and you have to figure out what's going on. There's more, however, this gets increasingly confusing with every detail you learn... you're spared. This way, you'll get an idea of just how much this drops you right in the middle.
This isn't the Garrett we've spent years with. I'm not only talking about the recasting... Orzari does about as well as one could hope for, and certainly delivers the best performance of anyone in this. He's proud of his work, and takes no sides – there aren't that many places to go with that. Yes, Russell did better, he may have just been more suited. Voices change, and not everyone can go through mo-cap. No, I mean the way he is, overall. He's now emo, has at least the occasional attachment, and is in bad need of a sandwich. There are reasons for this. A sequel that comes out a decade after the previous entry has to find the middle ground of what came before, and what is expected today. This fares OK in that, with some ground lost here and there. And then there's her. Dames, man. They change everything. Erin. Matsui does what she can, and it's not her fault that we end up with a snarky, obnoxious ball of pure teen angst. She was your student for a while, then the two of you split up over disagreement on the whole casual murder thing. To be fair, that "works" for this. You went on one job together after, and then, boom, amnesia. And not the Frictional Games kind. We're not that lucky. When you come to, it's all questions. What happened, and why am I not properly investigating it? Is this a reboot, or did these guys not know the source material? And finally, where and in what state is she... and do we have to care? We do...? It's the main focus of the tightly knit plot?!? *sigh* Well... at least I get to burgle again.
You hide in shadows and silence, albeit the latter is less dependable than before. Almost no type of surface makes much noise, and guards must be the understudies of mice, they're so quiet. They do stick to posts, patrols and investigating the unusual... and with you around, either that is entirely in your control... or they don't even notice anything, until you're long gone. You have numerous tools for stunning, distracting, thieving, and... when called for... you can KO with a Takedown. Behind, above, on someone seated and/or sleeping, even from the side if you're close enough... you can render them unconscious. It's hard not to take some pleasure in the act. Killing them is rarer and can now only be done from a distance... still, it is an option: you are, after all, carrying a bow, which is now a badass compact model. Special arrows galore, as hoped. Moss and Noisemakers are gone, and in are Dummy, for breaking vases, lowering bridges, and the like, Sawtooth for piercing armor, and of course Blast, which takes over for Fire for your rocket(!)-like projectile needs. They're all entirely dependable. There are fewer places they can be used... like every great idea in this, there's too little of it, and we feel like this rushed development meant we ended up with only 1/3 of the intended final product.
This captures a lot of elements from the trilogy better than I see many recognize. I understand there's a lot you have to look past... I devoted an entire paragraph to just the tip of the iceberg in the opening of this review. It really does, though. The atmosphere. Grit. The City a mess of Victorian England, Goth design and early industrialism, showing the oppressive, crushing nature of those. Men dying as machines mercilessly continue running, the rich elite ignoring the weak dying in the streets. The missions flesh out the world. They take you to ancient ruins, through cities long buried under the ground and into the realm of the supernatural. One of the first things this introduces is a Primal Stone. Not merely the concept, no, you see the massive power of it unleashed in the prologue, which doubles as a decent, unskippable, short tutorial. You spend the rest of this gradually realizing just how much of an impact the calling forth of such force has had, and, once again, your considerable abilities are required to save us all. And as you do... you still get to nick a ton of purty rocks, drawings and forks, knives... oh the sheer volume of silverware you'll grab in this. Unfortunately, you don't get to face no strange animal life, and barely any creatures that don't belong in this, or preferably any, reality. It goes with the bad fighting mechanics that you only go up against humans. And as such, only swordsmen, and crossbowmen. Run and hide, especially to higher ground, and you'll be fine. No forests of eyeballs. Trees don't suddenly come alive and flay you. No creepy, deep laugh telling you you're dead meat.
You'll spend about 50% of the time, for me it was 9 hours out of a total 27 and a half, in the Hub. Going into empty houses, robbing them blind, and trying to just find out how you go from one section of this place to the next. The map highlights walls, stairs, you, and which way is North. That's it. No area has a designation, no doors, much less paths in general, heck, it won't even let you see any section you aren't currently in, and any floor you're not on right now. Even the ones you just came from! In time, you learn your way around, and it will put Objectives on there, nevertheless, it's inexcusably frustrating.
I recommend this to any fan of the genre. Just go into it with reasonable expectations, and you'll have a blast, as I did. 7/10